By Grace McNamara
As the current Executive Editor of the Northern Iowan, co-founder/President of the UNI Film Appreciation Club, and full-time student, Clinton Olsasky has a lot on his plate. After choosing UNI for its campus size and impressive faculty to student ratio, he was excited to have a hands-on college experience. And that’s exactly what he got.
Clinton grew up in Des Moines, Iowa and attended Dowling Catholic High School. He joined the Speech Team upon coming to UNI his freshman year, but after realizing it wasn’t for him, found his strength in reporting for the UNI’s student-run newspaper, the Northern Iowan, as a sophomore. After a semester as a reporter, Clinton was promoted to News Editor, then Campus Life Editor, and was eventually promoted to Executive Editor for the past year. “As the Executive Editor, I have taken on a much greater leadership role at the Northern Iowan but still continue to write — both news stories and movie reviews, as I concurrently serve as the newspaper's film critic, as well. In addition to being a job and an educational opportunity, the Northern Iowan has offered me so much in terms of personal growth,” says Clinton. “In fact, it was at the Northern Iowan that I was able to forge some of my most meaningful relationships (both professional and personal) since coming to UNI.”
With an intense passion for film, he also enjoys watching movies whenever he can with his twin sister, Rosey. This interest led him to create the UNI Film Appreciation Club during his sophomore year, for which he has served as the president for the past three years.
However, although his passions were clear, his path toward his current major wasn’t. Clinton began as an Electronic Media Production major, switched to Interactive Digital Studies, and finally landed on his current major. Clinton will be graduating in May with a bachelor's degree in Digital Media: Journalism through the Communication Studies Department. He will also have a minor in Spanish and a minor in English: Film Studies. “Through all these changes to my plan of study, my advisor and professors were very helpful in giving me the proper advice and guidance to finding the best fit for me within the department,” explains Clinton.
When asked to name a faculty member who contributed to his college experience, Clinton credits Chris Martin for serving as a great mentor. “I took Mass Communication and Society with him during my freshman year, and through that course, I was able to learn a great deal about the industry in which I am hoping to enter after college,” says Clinton. “In addition, both Chris and Bettina Fabos played a huge role in helping me get my internship with Applied Art and Technology, due to their glowing recommendation. So, I simply can't thank Chris enough for everything he has done!”
Grant Tracey, professor in the Department of Languages and Literatures, was also instrumental in helping Clinton hone his writing ability in the classroom. “It has been through his film classes that I have been able to fully invest in my passion for cinema and love for writing. More than anything, Grant urges his students to search for truth, both in their writing and in whatever they choose to pursue in life, and I am forever thankful for the lessons I have learned from Grant since being here at UNI,” says Clinton.
Clinton notes that Department of Communication Studies helped him succeed by allowing him to explore the many opportunities available on campus and within the department. Upon graduation in May, he plans to move to the Des Moines area to continue work as a Digital Marketing Specialist/Copywriter for Applied Art and Technology, a video production studio.
With over 100 different articles written for the Northern Iowan, Clinton had a difficult time narrowing down his favorite story he’s written. In April of last year, Clinton wrote an investigative piece about the Old Central Hall bell. After digging through archival newspaper articles and historical documents from the UNI Museum, he uncovered nearly 150 years of history behind the campus artifact. “I was especially proud of the story because I received extensive feedback from readers who had reportedly had no idea about the bell and its history, as well as other positive feedback from readers who wanted to see the bell be moved into a more visible location on campus,” Clinton says.
It is easier for Clinton to name his favorite movie. “I would have to say that my all-time favorite film is City Lights, directed by Charlie Chaplin, from 1931. The movie is a silent romantic comedy from the dawn of the talkie era and is, in my estimation, Chaplin's greatest achievement. Not only is Chaplin wildly funny throughout the film, but he expertly combines comedy with heartbreaking pathos that causes the viewer to greatly empathize with his protagonist. And best of all, the film culminates in one of the greatest endings in the history of the movies and one of the greatest examples of acting ever committed to film. To put it simply, the ending of City Lights is one of the most profoundly moving scenes I have ever witnessed, and I have yet to see it without having tears well up in my eyes!"